His first interception was what offensive coordinator Brian Callahan called the most critical mistake of the game, as it came on a first down at the Jaguars’ 15-yard line right after the Jaguars went up 17-10 with 12:45 left. Callahan said it was a good play by Myles Jack, but the ball also was thrown a little too far behind Tyler Boyd.
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The second interception, which turned into a pick-six, came on a screen play the Jaguars sniffed out with pressure coming at Dalton from all angles, and the third was simply Dalton trying to make something happen late in the game.
Taylor said the only thing Dalton needs to do better is the same thing missing from everyone else – consistency.
“Just consistency from not only him but every single player,” Taylor said. “He’s poised. He stands in there, takes some hits, usually gives himself the allotted time to make a decision before someone’s going to hit him and he’s got to get rid of the ball. The screen’s a great example. Everyone’s getting off the quarterback and we’ve got to make sure we’re blocking the right guys and we can get out on the screen and make a play. Unfortunately, the pick-six goes down in his book, but that plays on the whole unit.”
Callahan said it’s unrealistic to expect Dalton to do more when the running game isn’t alleviating any pressure from him and the protection isn’t up to standard.
Cincinnati ranks as the league’s worst rushing offense with just 53.1 yards on the ground per game, including 33 yards Sunday. According to NFL Next Gen stats, the Bengals have allowed the second most quarterback pressures with 93 this season.
“Is it realistic to ask any quarterback in the NFL outside of two or three to dropback and carry a team given our struggles, it’s probably not very realistic,” Callahan said. “He fights and he does it every week as best as he can. He could be better in certain aspects, but that’s a tall task. That’s a lot to ask of anybody.”
That’s why the Bengals aren’t ready to hand the keys over to Finley just yet. They drafted him in the fourth round out of N.C. State, and he showed tremendous improvement during the preseason, following a rough start with the team, but he is yet to make his NFL debut.
Taylor said Sunday he plans to “keep it steady now” with Dalton. He easily could have thrown Finley in at the end of the game when the Bengals were down 17 points with less than two minutes left, but Dalton went back out and led a touchdown drive that he capped off with a 1-yard keeper.
When asked Monday if there will be a point the Bengals need to start looking ahead to 2020, Taylor said his focus is just on trying to win the next game. Cincinnati plays his former team, the Los Angeles Rams, on Sunday in London.
“Honestly, when we show up on Monday morning, it’s how are we beating the Rams?” Taylor said. “That is the conversation right now. That will make everybody feel better. You put in all this work for the last nine or however many months, and it hasn’t paid off yet, but that doesn’t mean there is not progress being made in a lot of areas. Some of it’s seen and some is unseen, but we still find the positives to build off of.””
Bengals vs. Rams, London, England, 1 p.m., WHIO-TV Ch. 7, Ch. 12; 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7